Gold jumps to eight-week high, lifting miner's share prices


ANALYST TAKE: "Equities look set to end this week on a downer, as geopolitical uncertainty regarding North Korea shakes volatility from its 2017 slumber", said Mike van Dulken, head of Research at Accendo Markets.

Another factor yanking precious metals lower was a steadily rising US dollar.

German GDP grew 0.6 percent sequentially in the second quarter, slightly slower than the 0.7 percent expansion seen in the first quarter, while United Kingdom consumer price inflation unexpectedly held steady at 2.6 percent in July, helping ease the pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates soon.

The Nasdaq climbed 83.68 (+1.34 percent) to close at 6,340.23, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,465.84, up 24.52 (+1.00 percent) from its open. Factory output probably increased 7.1 percent in July from a year earlier, against 7.6 percent in June, with retail sales decelerating to 10.8 percent from 11 percent. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 1 point, or 0.1%, to 1,373.

Against the Swiss franc, the dollar edged up 0.1 percent to 0.9734 francs. North Korea had responded with a threat to land a missile near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto retreated 2-3 percent, while gold miners Evolution and Newcrest rose about 2 percent each. The risk-on session was fueled by a slight easing of tensions between the United States and North Korea. The latest reading on core prices showed a below-forecast rise, making it tougher for the central bank to stay on its tightening course.

Gold jumps to eight-week high, lifting miner's share prices

Banks were broadly higher for a second day running after both Korean and USA leaders indicated a willingness to avert a deepening crisis over North Korea's nuclear program. The greenback advanced for a second day after comments from Federal Reserve Bank of NY chief William Dudley boosted expectations for an interest-rate increase this year.

However, market watchers said equity markets remained focused on the deepening geopolitical crisis, as angry threats from Washington and Pyongyang stoke fears of a catastrophic miscalculation with global consequences.

Traders saw the chance of a rate hike in December falling to 40 percent from 42 percent before Friday's data, according to Federal funds futures.

Just before trading began, the government announced the gross domestic product (GDP) figure, which comfortably beat market's expectations for a 0.6 percent rise.

There were no major reports on Monday, but a comment from New York Fed President William Dudley also pressured gold. In late trade it rose 0.06 percent to $47.62 per barrel and Brent was last at $50.86, up 0.26 percent on the day.

Home Depot Inc. (HD) reported quarterly earnings that exceeded estimates and comparable-store sales growing more than anticipated.

Govt revises foodgrain output to record 275.68 million tonnes
The year 2016-17 has been quite good for both oilseeds and pulses due to significant increase in the sown area and productivity. The next two years were drought years with food grain production hovering around 250 million tonnes mark.